14 Garage and Shed Organization Tips That Will Help You Streamline Your Space
These areas are notoriously messy, but they don't have to be. Our easy tips will help you keep your garage or garden shed in order.
You would never leave tools strewn out across the living room floor, allow piles of dirty pots to accumulate in the kitchen sink, or ignore a decades-worth of dust in the dining room. But the garage tends to be a very different story. Garages and sheds are notoriously messy, packed-to-the-brim spaces, and even the tidiest among us are guilty of allowing them to become cluttered with garden tools, sports equipment, and future "projects." As they say, out of sight, out of mind.
In fact, according to a poll of homeowners, one out of every four Americans are unable to fit a car into their overflowing garages. Furthermore, 20 percent of those polled reported that messy garages have even caused arguments with their spouses. Which is surprising, considering 92 percent of respondents described their homes as being somewhat or very organized. Luckily, a little organization can make a big difference. Whether you're looking for a complete overhaul or a quick tidy-up, there's plenty you can do this weekend. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can transform your garage or shed into an organized, functional space. The first step, of course, is a thorough, honest, down-and-dirty purge. There's no sense organizing what you don't need, and if you're like most people, you don't need half of what's stuffed in the back of the garage.
Got rid of that broken treadmill? Donated those tools you no longer need? Re-homed your old hockey equipment? Great! Now we can help. Read on for our favorite tidying-up tips.
Try a Coat Rack
An oversized wall-mounted coat rack can hold a myriad of garage supplies, from ladders—this stylish iteration is from Grandin Road (from $129, grandinroad.com)—brooms, and work aprons to wires and extension cords.
Ramp Up Your Recycling Bin
Perfect for storing leftover newspapers and paper disposables, a mobile cart—Living editor Lorna Aragon painted this crate white and added wheels for ease—makes recycling night a breeze and keeps your garage tidy. "I like things in my utility area to be movable, so it's easier to clean the space," she adds.
Opt for a Smart Display
We love a pegboard. "It's the most flexible way to organize different-size gear," says Aragon—from sauté pans to shovels. To make everything you hang look sharp, paint your board to match your walls (or the whole space), as art directors Jon Tutolo and David Krauk did at their home in Connecticut. A contrasting backdrop will also help your gardening essentials pop and be easy to spot and grab.
Shop Now: Benjamin Moore Paint in Deep River (used on home exterior and pegboard), benjaminmoore.com; Corona Tree Saw and Pruner, $93, homedepot.com; East Coast Lumber Bypass Lopper, $30, store.eastcoastlumber.net; Alterra Y-handle Stainless Steel Digging Spade, $60, homedepot.com; Sneeboer Hand Leaf-and-Debris Rake, $28, shopterrain.com; Sneeboer Lightweight Border Spade, $142, shopterrain.com.
Organize Cleaning Products
"Make sure that you're checking best before and expiration dates and place anything that's close to expiration at the front of the cleaning product collection so it can be used up first," says Melissa Maker, host of the CleanMySpace YouTube channel and founder of Clean My Space, a housekeeping service based in Canada. Knowing what supplies you already have in your garage will also help you from buying more than you need at any given time.
Take Advantage of a Toolbox
Battle rust-causing moisture with this surprising tool-kit addition: charcoal briquettes. These barbecue staples absorb dampness, common in garages and basements where tools are often stored. The briquettes tend to shed dust, however, so place them in a fabric bag before adding them to your box of tools.
Magnetic knife holders sold at kitchen-supply stores can be mounted to the wall with a few screws and will keep paintbrush bristles from being squashed. Hang the brushes bristle end down for proper drying and to minimize the amount of dust that collects between the bristles. You can also store other metal tools and utensils this way.
Create custom cabinetry in your garage or garden shed with vintage wine crates from flea markets or online auctions. Stack them horizontally and vertically, using some as bases to vary the height. Once you've established a layout, connect crates with wood screws and collars near the corners. Use cup hooks to hang smaller items, such as trowels, funnels, and scissors. If your need for storage grows, you can easily reconfigure the system.
Keep Details in Mind, Like Twine
Keep unruly balls of twine in line with big aluminum funnels, which serve as organizers and dispensers. Hammer a nail through each funnel near the top lip, attaching it to the wall of a shed or back of a door. Place a ball of twine or string in each one; run the ends out the spouts.
Get Rid of Unused Items
Opt for a yard sale or donate unused items to free up space in your garage, and ensure everything stays organized.
"It's easiest to keep all of your tools and supplies in one location, that way you know exactly where to find them," says Maker.
"If two cleaning products shouldn't be mixed [in real life] (never mix bleach with ammonia containing products or strong acids as hazardous gasses will form) they shouldn't be stored together," says Mary Gagliardi, aka Dr. Laundry, Clorox's in-house scientist and cleaning expert. "So get two bus boxes: one for detergent and bleach products, another for non-bleach toilet bowl cleaners, window cleaners, and ammonia."
Repurpose Old Items
Take this idea for a spin: Use a bike basket to corral tools in the garden shed. It's sturdy, charming, and just the right size to hold gloves, twine, and other essentials. An old basket that's missing its straps is perfect for the job, but you could also use a new one. Hang the basket by its handlebar-strap holes on pegs in the wall.
Utilize Wall Space
Looking for a more expansive pegboard project? This one increases vertical space and serves as a great, affordable organizer for tools, brooms, and more. To recreate this wall, buy a pegboard in two-by-four-foot, four-by-eight-foot, and four-by-four-foot pieces, buying as much as you need, cutting it, if necessary, to size. With pine one-by-twos, build a perimeter frame of identical dimensions. Mount the frame by screwing it into the wall. (If you're mounting the frame on drywall, you will need to use plastic anchors in conjunction with screws.) Then, using a screw gun, 3/4-inch wood screws, and appropriately sized washers, mount the pegboard on the frame, aligning outer edges and spacing the screws at equal intervals. If you don't have a screw gun, drill a pilot hole first, then insert the screws with a screwdriver. Finally, paint the pegboard in a color to match the rest of the room and add hooks and holders for hanging tools.
Shop Now: Home Depot Pegboard White Panel, from $24.88, homedepot.com.
Pamper Your Pots
Terra-cotta pots need to be properly cared for so they'll last year after year. Disinfect pots to rid them of soil residue that may carry insects or disease harmful to new plantings, especially to vulnerable seedlings. Scrub the insides and outsides of your pots with plain room temperature water and a stiff brush (we used a bottle-cleaning brush). To prevent the buildup of dangerous and unwanted mold, let pots dry completely before stacking and storing on a shelf in your garage or garden shed.